A career giving beautiful advice

I said life is too short to go on with that Rolling Stone love letter to Jeffrey Marsh, but I’ve changed my mind – life is too short but the love letter is too stupid to leave unmocked.

It’s a flowery message given by a person who built a career by giving beautiful advice. But every moment hasn’t been joyful. Marsh is nonbinary, loves wearing bright lipstick, and is open about their support for the LGBTQ+ community, all things that have made them an ongoing target for death threats and right-wing campaigns. 

Car crash with multiple victims. A flowery message? That’s not actually a compliment. Flowery writing=over the top, too much, undisciplined. What is “beautiful advice” when it’s at home? “every moment hasn’t been joyful” is the wrong way to say what’s intended. The correct way to say it is “not every moment has been joyful.” “every moment hasn’t been joyful”=every single moment has been non-joyful. Yet again I wonder where the hell all the competent editors have gone. Being non-binary does not make people “an ongoing target for death threats and right-wing campaigns,” and neither does loving to wear lipstick, and neither does being “open about their support for the LGBTQ+ community.” They may make people disliked or avoided or disputed, but they don’t by themselves inspire routine death threats. Again: editor needed. Yes, it’s still true that lesbians and gay men aren’t universally popular or accepted, but that does not mean they’re all subject to death threats. Accuracy is desirable in journalism.

But their years of being a vocal advocate for self-love mean that now, even when there’s pushback, Marsh is staying focused on their mission: helping as many people as possible. 

But he doesn’t “help people.” He videos himself performing a role in a melodrama. That’s not the same as helping people. There is zero reason to think that a self-admiring creep talking platitudes on social media is “helping” anyone.

You’ve been a constant target for right-wing attacks, accused of being a groomer, and sent death threats. Is that hate something that frustrates you? 

It used to. Right now, it galvanizes me. It helps me to concentrate on my mission. I help people hate themselves less and I forward LGBTQ acceptance. Those are the two things that I’m about and part of that job is inspiring in other people the things that they need to heal.

Why should we believe he helps people hate themselves less? How does he know he does? Does he ask followup questions?

This might sound odd, but in some ways, the hateful obsession helps me. Because it’s a representation of the obsessively hateful voice that a lot of people have inside their heads. A lot of people have a voice in their head saying ‘That was terrible. They’re gonna hate you.’ Every single video [I post] has mean comments, accusations, everything, right? And I post again the next day and then the next day, and then the next day. That to me is metaphorical for the internal process of living our lives, no matter what a mean voice in our head is saying.

Oh dear. Chronic unfalsifiability. No doubt lots of people do have voices in their heads that say “You suck,” but it doesn’t follow and it isn’t true that no one sucks. Some people do suck – that is, some people do say stupid shit as opposed to glorious helpful rescuey aphorisms. Jeffrey Marsh is one such someone. Also, of course, the stuff he says strikes a lot of people as predatory. The fact that they laughed when you sat down at the piano does not necessarily mean you’re Glenn Gould.

Life is still too short but it was worth it.

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